Republicans warned against alienating Hispanic evangelicals
FROM ASSOCIATED BAPTIST PRESS. WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Leaders of the nation’s largest Hispanic evangelical organization warned leaders of the Republican Party Aug. 17 that their increasingly strident rhetoric on immigration puts the party at risk of losing an entire generation of Latino voters.
“We are very disappointed with the rhetoric stemming from the Republican Party,” said Samuel Rodriguez (pictured above) president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, in a press release. “The recent Republican consideration on amending the Constitution to deny citizenship to children of immigrants born in the U.S. may very well serve as the nail on the coffin to the inevitable alienation of America’s largest ethnic minority.”
Rodriguez referred to proposals -- endorsed in theory by several prominent Republicans in recent weeks -- dealing with the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “birthright citizenship” for any child born in the United States. Some GOP members of Congress, governors and others have suggested amending or clarifying the bill to exclude children born to certain immigrants.
Rodriguez said other recent legislative actions endorsed by many GOP leaders -- such as Arizona’s controversial new anti-illegal-immigration law -- send “a very clear message to Latinos: The party that seems to reflect the values of the Hispanic-American family is no longer the party of Reagan and Lincoln but now stands as the party responsible for polarizing communities, accepting racial profiling and building walls not in the desert of Arizona but unfortunately through Main Street U.S.A.”
As recently as 2004, Republicans enjoyed a broad level of support among Latinos. In 2004, polls showed that around 44 percent of Hispanic voters supported President George W. Bush’s re-election. But a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Hispanic support for the party had slipped to around 20 percent.